Richmond turn to top-tier draftees

Richmond will call upon a string of Tigers old and new to rid themselves of poor form and their biggest AFL bogeyman.

In giving a debut to Corey Ellis on Saturday against Geelong, Richmond are fielding eight of their past nine first-round draft picks.

Only Reece Conca is missing from the elite Tigers group, and he could return next week by proving his fitness in his first VFL match of the season on Saturday.

It’s an almost unprecedented situation – though even more remarkable is that none of them have ever played in a team that’s beaten the Cats.

In 10 straight matches dating back to 2007 the Cats have beaten Richmond, and some of them have been absolute doozies.

Of Saturday’s team, only Chris Newman knows what it’s like to beat the Cats in a Richmond guernsey.

Returning defender Troy Chaplin beat Geelong while at Port Adelaide and hopes the injection of youth can help the Tigers beat their curse.

Chaplin was wary of talking up Ellis before he took the field, but said Tigers fans could expect to see shades of the Collingwood captain in their No.32.

“He’s an inside player, very smooth … very similar to (Scott) Pendlebury in the way he moves,” he told radio station SEN.

“If he can be half the player Scotty Pendlebury is we’ll be rapt.”

Richmond have endured a week of criticism in the wake of their loss to Melbourne.

In a season where many expected the Tigers to go a step further than their eighth-placed finish in 2014, they currently find themselves 2-2 and stuck outside the top eight.

But Chaplin said the club’s policy was to continue blooding youngsters before loading up in future years.

“They were always going to go to the draft this year because I don’t think there was much in the free agency pool,” he said.

“They wanted to inject youth so that’s what they did.

“I’ve got no doubt they’ll look at free agency this year and next year.

“What that missing piece is, that’s up to the list management guys and coaches to decide.”

Chaplin said the group was from panicking after their start to the season, saying the players were level-headed.

“Our two games we’ve lost we’ve played poorly,” he said.

“People expected us to win those games but this year it’s going to be very even.”

But despite their dreadful recent record against Geelong, Richmond were backed into favouritism on Friday against Geelong, whose only win to date this year was an unconvincing effort at home against hapless Gold Coast.

The Cats have been forced to turn again to ruckman Dawson Simpson, with talls Rhys Stanley and Mitch Clark both out due to injury.


2014 – Corey Ellis (pick No.12)

2013 – Ben Lennon (No.12)

2012 – Nick Vlastuin (No.9)

2011 – Brandon Ellis (No.15)

2009 – Dustin Martin (No.3)

2008 – Ty Vickery (No.8)

2007 – Trent Cotchin (No.2)

2006 – Jack Riewoldt (No.13)

Missing – 2010 – Reece Conca (No.6)

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